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WESTERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
NAUVOO GUIDES CHICAGO
31711 00093 211
2 4 2001
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2010 with funding from
CARLI: Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois
AMERICAN GUIDE SERIES
Compiled and Written
by Federal Writers 7 Project of Illinois,
Works Progress Administration
State c o n -
Sponsored By The
Unity Club of Nauvoo
A. C. McCLURG & CO. s CHICAGO
WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION
Harry L. Hopkins, Administrator
Ellen S. Woodward, Assistant Administrator
Henry G. Alsberg, Director of the Federal Writers' Project
by unity club of nauvoo
Price Fifty Cents
Nauvoo is one of the most important places associated with the history
of the middle west, and indeed of America. In its own right, present-day
Nauvoo is exceptionally interesting and picturesque. Rich in history and
relics, it is well suited to an individual volume in the American Guide
Series. This book is offered as a contribution to a better understanding
of the Nauvoo of the past and a greater appreciation of the Nauvoo of
the present and future.
Few chapters in American history have been so frequently miswritten
and misread as those containing the dramatic incidents of early years at
Nauvoo. Any writer who attempts to deal with this history encounters
the gravest difficulties in reconciling contradictory reports of important
events. Obviously, it is the duty of a Federal agency, in presenting a book
about Nauvoo, to seek a wholly objective treatment of all matters of con-
troversy — a treatment equally free from prejudice and from partisanship.
We have made a most sincere effort in this book to achieve both accuracy
and fairness. Aware that it is impossible for us to please fully all those of
diverging views, we crave only understanding of our purpose, and a
tolerant recognition of our problem.
I wish to extend my personal appreciation, for their cooperation in the
production of this work, to James Phelan, author of the text, and to John
Stenvall of the Federal Art Project of Illinois, who made the illustrations.
All of the photographs except two are reproduced with the permission of
the Chicago Daily News, and are by Clyde Brown, chief photographer for
that paper. The painting of the Brigham Young House, reproduced on the
cover, is the work of Lane K. Newberry, well-known painter of historical
Illinois scenes, and is used with his special permission. Most of all, thanks
are due the people of Nauvoo, who have made the publication possible.
— John T. Frederick,
Federal Writers' Project.
u 6 6
Prefatory Note 5
City of the Prophet 9
"We Will Build Up a City" 15
"As Soon As Grass Grows" 31
Utopia Comes to Nauvoo 36
On the Hill and In the Flat — A Tourist's
Guide to Points of Interest 41
Cover Design: Brigham Young House, from
Painting by Lane K. Newberry.
(?itu oj\ the ftlopltQt
The tourist bound south along the Mississippi River on State 96 might
easily speed past the business district of Nauvoo, sweep around the sharp
curve at St. Edmund Hall, drop down the hill and out of town with scarcely
a thought to what he had just passed. Nauvoo, at a casual glance, appears
indistinguishable from countless other Illinois farming towns of a thousand
population. The hurrying driver might catalogue Nauvoo as another such
pea-in-the-pod, and remember it — if at all — because of its unusual name.
But Nauvoo reveals, upon closer examination, an oddity in structure, the
relic of sudden boom and swift decline almost a century ago.
Here, in the 1840's, when Chicago was a stripling village of less than
5,000, and Springfield, the new State capital, a muddy little town recently
planted on the prairie, stood the largest city in Illinois, a community of
more than 20,000. Center of the rapidly increasing sect of Mormonism,
Nauvoo possessed thousands of dwellings, and a great Temple into the
construction of which had been poured a million dollars. Authors and
journalists came here from the East to describe the swiftly blooming
metropolis and interview Joseph Smith, Prophet and temporal leader of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Politicians courted the
favor of the Saints, who for several years held the political balance of
power in Illinois. Then internal dissension touched off a fuse that sputtered
briefly within the ranks of the faithful, shortly ignited the hatred of sur-
rounding non-Mormons, exploded in the fury of the Mormon Wars, and
snuffed Nauvoo overnight. And between the appearance of the Saints at
this place, and their hurried exodus, only seven years elapsed.
The framework of Nauvoo today is obviously that of a much larger
and older community. Built up solid, it could house a community the
size of Alton or Elgin. Within its limits are many small farms and vine-
yards, as though a dam that once barred country fields from the town
had given way and let the fields come spilling over./ Save for a short
stretch of business houses on Mulholland Street, the town blocks are but
loosely knit. Houses stand as corner posts, but between them and behind
them run the neat geometry of vineyards and the lush disarray of vege-
table gardens. Many of the Mormon houses are still standing and are
occupied, but throughout the village are scattered empty foundation pits,
with elms and maples leaning over, and here and there the bones of a
house, shrubs growing out of its long-collapsed roof, and vines hiding its
mellowed walls. Into many a hillock of Nauvoo's rolling terrain are tucked
the wine-cellars built by the Icarians who followed the Mormons, and by
the Germans who followed the Icarians. These no longer serve the pur-
pose for which they were built — although wine is still made in Nauvoo —
and now stand empty and crumbling, or serve as makeshift refrigerators
for a family's vegetables.
Nauvoo stands on two levels, referred to locally as the Hill and the Flat. X
More than sixty years ago the business district was moved out of the Flat,
where Joseph Smith had begun it, and up the Hill to its present location.
On the Flat stood the most impressive houses of the Mormons, and thus
they were left untouched by what little growth Nauvoo has seen in the
past six decades. Around the town site, in a great crescent, sweeps the
icago Daily Ne\
-By Clyde Brown.
THE FERRYBOAT "CITY OF NAUVOO"
Mississippi River, here wider than elsewhere because of the downstream
Keokuk Dam. From the Hill, Nauvoo commands a pleasing view of the
lowlands that once swarmed with the Saints, and beyond that broad belt
of wooded ground, the curving line of the river and the Iowa bluffs.
Southward the Hill merges into bluffs that line the river and enhance
the beauty of a charming twelve mile scenic drive to Hamilton, Illinois.
The Flat best tells the tragic and violent story of Nauvoo's decline.
Were it not for the obvious age of the houses here, this part of Nauvoo
might be a real-estate subdivision that was laid out pretentiously in 1928
and collapsed in 1930. The streets are checkerboard in pattern, but many
of them can be traced only with difficulty; in some instances their limits
are marked by the fences of bordering farms, and no traffic disturbs the
grass growing there. Seventh (or Main) Street, once the principal busi-
ness street, has less than a dozen houses on it, and no commercial buildings.
In the 1840's a traveler in Nauvoo found Parley Street a marvelous sight,
and wrote that it was built up solidly for several miles back from the river.
Now but a handful of houses line it; whole blocks have no buildings, and
save for the few crumbled stones marking the site of the Seventies Hall,
even the ruins of that one-time prosperity have been effaced.
Today only some sixty members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints live in Nauvoo. To them goes the credit for
preserving the important relics of Joseph Smith's Nauvoo. The Joseph
BUSINESS DISTRICT OF NAUVOO
Chicago Daily Ntmi Pholo — By Clyde J
Smith Homestead, the Mansion House — second home of the Prophet — the
Nauvoo House, which was under construction as a great hotel when Smith
was murdered, and numerous other historic dwellings are owned and
maintained by the Reorganized Church. The church also has a guide
service to the town, and has done considerable research in determining
the original owners of the old Mormon homes and in locating the sites of
important buildings that have been destroyed.
This branch differs from the larger group of Mormons at Utah in several
important tenets of dogma. The separation was based upon the question
of authority, the Utah Church maintaining that at the death of Joseph
Smith the Twelve Apostles became the presiding Quorum. Both branches
accept Joseph Smith as Prophet, and the Book of Mormon as an addendum
to the Bible. However, the Reorganized Church vehemently denies that
Smith ever practiced or countenanced polygamy, and claims that the doc-
trine of plural wives was "revealed" by Brigham Young after the death of
Joseph Smith. Their editions of Doctrine and Covenants, the book of
divine revelations, contain none of the revelations received by Brigham
Young and other Utah church dignitaries. Many visitors to Nauvoo are
members of the Utah branch, and spirited arguments on the historical
question of polygamy frequently pepper the quiet of the old homestead.
In increasing numbers both "Reorganites" and Utah Mormons make
the pilgrimage to Nauvoo and the nearby Carthage jail, where Joseph
Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were murdered by a mob. Gradually the
conception of Nauvoo as a latter-day Mecca is shaping; this conception,
with the martyrdom of Joseph Smith and the hegira to Utah, has given
the Mormons three of the fixtures found in many long-established reli-
gions. Both the Utah and the Reorganized branches have acquired por-
tions of the Temple lot in Nauvoo ; the Utah Mormons expect some day to
build there a copy of the Temple. Nauvoo as Mecca is booming.
In its non-religious aspects, Nauvoo is a quiet, stable little town almost
wholly dependent upon agriculture and horticulture. A recently estab-
lished aeronautical school strikes an anachronistic note; there are two
Catholic boarding schools, a cheese factory, and a winery, but most of
Nauvoo's citizens look to the soil for their livelihood. Unusual for such
a diminutive town is Nauvoo's abundant supply of electric power, which
it taps from the great power dam twelve miles downstream at Keokuk, Iowa.
It is a queer twist in the town's development that the Iearians, who
added but little to the Nauvoo of their day, left the town its most import-
ant economic heritage. Grape-raising, instituted by these French commun-
ists, remains the most important source of income. Many thousands of
gallons of wine and grape juice are pressed annually; the remainder of
the crop — as much as 150 carloads a year — is shipped out. Most of this
leaves Nauvoo by truck or ferry, since Nauvoo is one of the two Illinois
cities of more than 500 population that lack a railroad. It possesses, how-
ever, good connection by ferry with the railroad at Montrose, Iowa, di-
rectly across the river.
Moore's Early and Concord are the chief varieties of grapes raised. Few
outside laborers are imported; during the picking season almost the entire
town turns to and strips the vines. The money thus obtained provides for
most of the residents' wants that cannot be supplied by the ubiquitous
little three and four acre farms.
Because the narrative of their town's growth is such a colorful episode,
Nauvoo's citizens have a historical awareness unusual among Illinoisans.
Friendly and inclined toward a leisurely pattern of life, they willingly
point out landmarks, and discuss such local moot questions as the exact
site of the Temple cornerstone. Increasingly the town is becoming accus-
tomed to the writers, reporters, and artists who periodically descend upon
Nauvoo to poke around the old houses, examine the curios at the Oriental
Hotel, and sketch the scenes of one-time Mormon activity. The influx,
especially of artists, is greatest in the summer, for then Nauvoo blossoms
into a riot of color. Hollyhocks grow beside the crumbling foundations;
phlox, cannas, and larkspur crowd each other in the corners of vegetable
gardens; and unexpectedly one comes upon the shell of a house spilling
a great crown of trumpet flowers.
Recently Mrs. Verna 0. Nelson gave to the State several large tracts of
land on the Flat, and there is a move on foot to convert the entire Flat
into a State Park, so that it may be preserved for the future, much as New
Salem of Lincoln's day has been preserved. Whether or not the plans are
consummated, Nauvoo is in little danger of extinction. Its importance to
both branches of the church, and its citizens' knowledge of their heritage,
assure the zealous guarding of Nauvoo's landmarks.
»u/ e u/ui Hutu Up a &tf
/ When the Mormons were harried out of Missouri in the winter of
1838-39, they crossed the Mississippi to Quincy, Illinois, and there re-
ceived an unexpected welcome. A committee of Quincy citizens passed a
resolution condemning the Governor of Missouri and urging that residents
of Quincy "be particularly careful not to indulge in any conversation or
expressions calculated to wound (the Mormon's) feelings, or in any way
to reflect upon those who, by every law of humanity, are entitled to our
^ sympathy and commiseration."
The previous lot of the Mormons, as told by church historians, had
been one of persecution rather than cordial reception. Joseph Smith had
published the Book of Mormon and founded the Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter-day Saints nine years before, in New York. Born in 1805, of
poor and unlettered parents, he had received, at the age of 14, a vision
wherein an angel had warned him against joining any of the existing reli-
gious denominations, and had revealed to him that the Lord was soon to
restore the Gospel. In 1827, on the Hill of Cumorah, near Palmyra, New
York, he dug up plates of gold on which were inscribed strange characters.
Church history further relates that young Smith was provided with a pair
of spectacles, the Urim and Thummim, by means of which he was able to
translate the story inscribed on the plates. Dictating for months to Martin
Harris, Oliver Cowdery, and others, he completed the lengthy Book of
Mormon in 1829 and published it in 1830. Joseph Smith's synopsis of
the book, which is accepted by the Mormons as an addendum to the Bible,
was as follows:
"The history of America is unfolded from its first settlement
by a colony that came from the Tower of Babel at the confusion
of languages, to the beginning of the Christian era. We are in-
formed by these records that America in ancient times has been
inhabited by two distinct races of people. The first were called
Jaredites, and came directly from the Tower of Babel. The sec-
ond race came directly from the city of Jerusalem about 600
years before Christ. They were principally Israelites of the
descendants of Joseph. The Jaredites were destroyed about the
time the Israelites came from Jerusalem, who succeeded them in
the inhabitance of the country. The principal nation of the
second race fell in battle toward the close of the fourth century.
The remnants are the Indians that now inhabit the country."
Interwoven with the historical were theological passages. The reassembling
of the tribes of Israel, the rebuilding of Zion on this earth, the second
coming of Christ, and His reign upon earth were predicted.
The first church was established at F_avejte, New York, on April 6, 1830,
but it was not until headquarters were moved to Kirtland, Ohio, the fol-
lowing year, that appreciable gains were made in membership. In the
same year, 1831, a branch colony was established at Jackson County,
Missouri. Here began the long series of clashes with the Gentiles, as non-
Mormons were called, that embittered the Mormons against Missouri for
many years. Driven from Jackson County by a mob, in 1833, they settled
in adjoining Clay County, only to have similar mob action effect their
removal three years later. Going to Caldwell County, Missouri, they
founded the towns of Adam-ondi-Ahman and Far West, where they were
joined by Smith and the remainder of the Kirtland Mormons in 1838.
Religious antagonism and fear of the political power of, the Saints, who
usually voted as a bloc, resulted in increasingly violent conflicts. Sporadic
battles between armed forces culminated in the slaughter at Hawn's Mill,
October 30, 1838, where a large number of Mormons were trapped in a
blacksmith shop and murdered. At about the same time Governor Lilburn
Boggs issued an order to the militia, proclaiming that "the Mormons
must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the
State." Joseph Smith, his brother Hyrum, Sidney Rigdon, and several
other leaders were taken as hostages, and the rest of the Mormons were
hurriedly bundled out of the State, with little or no opportunity to pack
their belongings or dispose of their property. The Smiths were held from
November until April, 1839, under indictments ranging from murder and
treason to arson and burglary. Early in April they obtained a change of
venue to Boone County. On April 15, while en route to that place for
trial, they escaped and fled to Quincy.
Such was the prologue to the Mormons' stay in Illinois. One last inci-
dent testified eloquently to the faith of these men in their newly arisen
Prophet. Joseph Smith had announced, in April 1838, a revelation from
the Lord commanding the erection of a temple at Far West. The Lord
had admonished the Saints that "in one year from this day let them re-
commence laying the foundation of my house." Secretly a group of the
Apostles, under the leadership of Brigham Young, traveled from Quincy
to Far West and on the night of April 26, 1839, met at the site of the
Temple. Capture by the Missourians would have meant certain imprison-
ment, but there in the dark they rolled a huge stone into place, first softly
intoning a hymn. Then they returned to Quincy, where Joseph Smith
was laying plans for a new Zion of the frontier.
The futility of their nine-year effort to find a permanent home had de-
pressed some of the Saints, but the return of Smith and the friendliness ofv.
Quincy citizens restored their optimism. Negotiations were— entered r rrtcT
with Dr. Isaac Galland, a landholder in Iowa and Illinois, and on May 1
a church committee purchased two large farms from him for $14,000 in
the vicinity of Commerce, some fifty miles north of Quincy. Liberal terms
of credit were arranged, and shortly other purchases were made.
Commerce, formerly a large Indian village named Quashquema, had
been settled early in the 1820's as an Indian trading post. Joseph Smith's
description of the site has been preserved. "The place," he wrote, "was
literally a wilderness. The land was mostly covered with trees and bushes,
and much of it was so wet that it was with the utmost difficulty that a
footman could get through, and totally impossible for teams. Commerce
was so unhealthy very few could live there, but believing that it might
become a healthy place by the blessing of heaven to the Saints, and no
more eligible place presenting itself, I considered it wisdom to make an
attempt to build up a city."
Commerce was a discouraging nucleus for this task. It possessed not
more than six or seven buildings — a storehouse, two blockhouses, and a
few dwellings — all of the crudest construction. Joseph Smith moved into
a tiny log cabin on the river-front, and he and the Saints fell to the task
of building up their city. Shortly the Prophet renamed the town Nauvoo,
^ which he claimed meant "beautiful place" in Hebrew. Scholars of that
language find no basis for the attribution.
Considering the difficulties encountered, the work progressed with
astounding rapidity. Many of the Saints were stricken with malaria dur-
ing the first few months before the land was drained. Both Brigham
Young and Wilford Woodruff have testified that Joseph Smith miracu-
lously healed many of the sick. "Joseph commenced in his own house
and dooryard," wrote Brigham Young, "commanding the sick, in the
name of Jesus Christ, to arise and be made whole, and they were healed
according to his word. He then continued to travel from house to house,
healing the sick ..." In January 1841, the newly established Mormon
paper, the Times and Seasons, reported a population of 3,000 in Nauvoo.
At that time, Galena, the most important industrial city in Illinois, had
but 2,250 persons, although that lead-mining center was in the up-swing
of a twenty-year boom.
jSlhe treatment the Mormons had received at the hands of Missouri's
officialdom led them to attempt to insure against a similar occurrence
here. The method they took has generally been condemned by historians
as unwise. At the time of the Mormons' arrival in Illinois, the Whigs and
the Democrats were engaged in a struggle for political supremacy, and
both parties were willing to grant liberal legislative favors to obtain the
Saints' support. |In 1840, the General Assembly awarded Nauvoo a city
charter, an extraordinary document that had little precedent for the liberal
terms it set forth. Nauvoo was made virtually an autonomous state, em-
powered to pass any laws not in direct conflict with the State and Federal
Constitutions. Its Municipal Court was given the power to issue writs of
habeas corpus in cases involving local ordinances. It was the exercising
of this authority that subsequently did much to aggravate anti-Mormon
sentiment. The city was also permitted to set up its own militia, the
Nauvoo Legion, which, although subject to the Governor's call, was given
the unusual power of governing itself by its own court-martial. J
Functioning as the Mormon lobbyist in the passage of the charter was
John C. Bennett, around whom violent controversy was to center within
a few years. Bennett, a doctor of somewhat dubious ability, was charac-
terized by Governor Ford as "probably the greatest scamp in the western
country." He had written a long, flattering letter to Smith early in 1840,
hinting that he would join the Mormons if he could be assured of their
political support, and intimating that he had his eye on the Governorship
of Illinois. Smith's reply was none too cordial, but Bennett took up resi-
dence in Nauvoo in September of that year, and soon was wielding much
influence in the civic affairs of the Mormons. For a while he served as
mayor of Nauvoo and Major-General of the Nauvoo Legion; in addition
he was appointed Master-in-chancery of Hancock County and Quarter-
master-general of the Illinois State Militia.
Smith did not frequently tolerate the acquisition of such authority.
More than six feet in height, and weighing over 200 pounds, he possessed
exuberance and vitality that were felt in the temporal as well as the
spiritual affairs of the Mormons. He has been variously described, depend-
ing on the bias of the interviewer, but all were impressed by his geniality
and his democratic qualities. Josiah Quincy, in his Figures of the Past,
depicted him as "a hearty, athletic fellow, with blue eyes standing promi-
nently out on his light complexion, a long nose, and a retreating forehead
... a fine looking man, is what the passer-by would instinctively have
murmured upon meeting the remarkable individual."
The Mormon dwellings had no more than begun to rise on the Flat
when Joseph Smith inaugurated an ambitious plan for foreign missionary
work. Such work had already been pursued intensively in this country
during the unstable years before Nauvoo, but now it assumed a grand
scale. Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and others of the Twelve
Apostles were dispatched to England, and Orson Hyde to the Jews in Con-
stantinople and Jerusalem. The Millenial Star was established in England,
v - W
and is still being published there; in one year's time 5,000 copies of the
Book of Mormon were published and distributed, and 50,000 tracts. Their
efforts met with singular success, especially in the depressed areas, such
as Manchester and Liverpool. By 1350 there were 28,000 members of the
church in England and Scotland, and 3,700 migrated to America between
f"*1840 and 1846, taking up residence at Nauvoo. To the large number of
\ English converts is also traced a portion of the trouble that beset the
\ Mormons later. Prejudice against the English, stemming from the War
/of 1812, had not yet completely died down on the frontier.
Joseph Smith's revelations, which had filled a sizeable little book by
1835, came with less and less frequency at Nauvoo. But early in 1841,
the Times and Seasons published a long revelation dated January 19th,
containing instructions for the building of a Temple and a hotel. Referring
to the latter, it read: "and let the name of that house be called Nauvoo
House, and let it be a delightful habitation for man, and a resting place
for the weary traveler, that he may contemplate the glory of Zion and
Chicago Daily News Photo— By Clyde
the glory of this, the corner-stone thereof ..." Elaborate instructions
were given for the financing of the structure; a committee of the Saints
was specifically named in the revelation to receive money and issue stock.
The Temple, a much more elaborate building, was treated rather briefly
in comparison. In part it read:
"And send ye swift messengers, yea, chosen messengers, and
say unto them; come ye, with all your gold and silver, and your
precious stones, and with all your antiquities; and with all who
have knowledge of antiquities, that will come, may come, and
bring the box tree, and the fir tree, and the pine tree, together
with all the precious trees of the earth."
The practice of tithing, still prevalent among the Mormons in a modified
form, greatly aided the construction of the Temple. Workmen gave every
tenth day of their labor. The revelation had said nothing about the size
or style of the building, other than the mention that Joseph Smith would
be shown "all things pertaining to this house . . . and the place whereon
it shall be built." At intervals the Prophet gave instructions how the
work should proceed. Josiah Quincy, in his Figures of the Past, records
an amusing incident observed during his trip to Nauvoo:
"Near the Temple we passed a workman who was laboring
under a huge sun, which he had chiselled from the solid rock.
The countenance was of the negro type, and it was surrounded
by the conventional rays.
" 'General Smith,' said the man, looking up from his task,
'is this like the face you saw in the vision?'
" 'Very near it,' answered the Prophet, 'Except' (this was
added with an air of careful connoisseurship that was quite
overpowering) — 'except that the nose is just a thought too
* * *
As the city spread and flourished, the first intimations of opposition
began to rumble here and there throughout the countryside. The Mormons
had given the Whigs a majority of more than 700 for Harrison in Han-^
cock County, but in the gubernatorial contest of 1842 their vote swung
to the Democrats, who received a majority or more than a thousand in
this county. The attitude of the Gentiles had been summed up by the
Warsaw Signal, which was shortly to become a violent critic of the Saints.
"We believe they have the same rights as other religious bodies . . . But
whenever they, as a people, step beyond the proper sphere of a
religious denomination, and become a political body, as many of our
citizens are beginning to apprehend will be the case, then this press stands
pledged to take a stand against them."
^i""""~"^Early in 1842 trouble burgeoned again in Missouri. On May 6 an
Y[ attempt was made to assassinate Governor Boggs, author of the intemperate
"extermination order" that had preceded the Mormons' expulsion from
that state.J, Seated by an open window, the governor was badly wounded
by a pistol-ball fired by an unknown assailant. '•Suspicion immediately
focused on the Saints, and warrants were procured for 0. P. Rockwell,
charged with firing the shot, and Joseph Smith, named as inciter of the
attack. Smith was arrested but promptly sued out a writ of habeas corpus
in his Municipal Court. This was but the first of a series of arrests and
attempted arrests, and for more than a year Smith was frequently in
hiding, j Once he was captured while out of Nauvoo, a"ncT only a hasty
intervention of friends prevented his being hustled away to Missouri. The
Utah edition of Doctrine and Covenants contains an epistle, dated Sep-
tember 1, 1842, that demonstrates the good use to which Smith put his
powers. "For as much as the Lord has revealed unto me," it runs, "that
my enemies, both in Missouri and this State, were again in the pursuit
of me ... I have thought it expedient and wisdom in me to leave the
*fs place for a short season ..."
r^rShortly after the Boggs incident, serious trouble developed for the first
J time in the ranks of the faithful. Bennett broke with the church and sud-
denly left Nauvoo. Mormon historians claim that he was excommunicated
for immorality, but Bennett gave a characteristically grand and exciting
explanation. Soon he published a lurid booklet, History of the Saints; or
an Expose of Joe Smith and Mormonism, and began a series of lectures
on the same subject. In the preface he claimed that he had learned of
Mormon plans to set up a despotic religious empire over Illinois and ad-
joining states, and had joined the church merely to expose this treasonous
plot. The book, written in a sensational style, made detailed charges oT~"\
polygamy. Bennett subsequently convicted himself of roguery by attempt- 1/
ing to rejoin the church, after Smith's death. But the charges that he
noised about found many an eager ear. A group of Mormon wives promptly /
denied, in a published affidavit, that polygamy was practiced at Nauvoo, /
and Bennett Was bitterly assailed in the Times and Seasons. <fi
Although opposition kept rumbling in the offing, eastern immigrants
and foreign converts continued to pour in; the Times and Seasons, in
October 1842, estimated that the city contained "between 7,000 and 8,000
houses, with a population of 14,000 or 15,000." On the hill the Temple
was rising, and in August, 1843, the Prophet moved into the Mansion
House, a fine large frame structure across the street from the little cabin
he had occupied for four years.
Hto Daily News Photo— By Clyde Brown
Not much is known of the economic structure of Nauvoo during the
Mormon days. The Times and Seasons and the journals of church leaders
were almost wholly preoccupied with religious and political matters, and
the manner in which these people made their living comes to us as a
blurred and shadowy picture. There was evidently little industrial devel-
opment — a few mills, a wagon shop, two quarries, a match and powder
factory. Most of the manufactured products were consumed at home.
Agriculture seemed to have been the broad, strong basis of the settlement,
for Nauvoo was flanked by Mormon farms that extended deep into the
country away from the river.
— in one sense, the year 1843 was the most important in Mormon history.
What occurred, or did not occur, on July 12 of that year has plagued
many a historian and occasioned much acrimony between the different
branches of Mormonism. Nine years later, on August 29, 1852, Brigham
Young announced to a Mormon conference at Salt Lake City, Utah, the
existence of what he claimed was a secret revelation received by
Joseph Smith at Nauvoo, July 12, 1843. This was the so-called "plural
wives" revelation, advocating the doctrine of polygamy. Its authenticity
has consistently been denied by the Reorganized Church. That the revela-
tion was not in Joseph Smith's handwriting has never been disputed;
furthermore it was pointed out that the Times and Seasons of February,
1844, carried a notice, signed by Joseph Smith, of the excommunication
of a Mormon elder for preaching "polygamy and other false and corrupt
doctrines." Brigham Young's version of the controversy was as follows:
"Though that doctrine (polygamy) has not been preached by
the Elders, this people have believed in it for many years. The
original copy of this revelation was burned up. William Clayton
was the man who wrote it from the mouth of the Prophet. In
the meantime it was in Bishop Whitney's possession. He wished
the privilege to copy it, which brother Joseph granted. Sister
Emma (Joseph Smith's wife) burnt the original."
Joseph's above-mentioned denunciation of polygamy, the year after the
purported revelation, is explained by the Utah branch on the basis of
expediency. Its members hold that the Prophet was justified in denying
the doctrine because it would have outraged the Gentiles. The entire con-
troversy now partakes of a somewhat academic flavor, like the Bacon-
Shakespeare dispute, since polygamy has long since been abandoned.
In the winter of 1843-44 Joseph Smith took a bold political step, in
LUCY MACK SMITH HOUSE
comparison /with which the previous maneuvers of the Saints became in-
significant. / His attempts to secure reparation for the confiscation and
destruction of Mormon property in Missouri had been unsuccessful, and
now he took a new tack; he would wield the formidable bloc of Mormon
votes as a weapon to secure reparation. The Times and Seasons of Octo-
ber 1, 1843, carried an editorial captioned "Who Shall Be Our Next Presi-
dent?", which urged that it be someone favorably disposed to the Mormon
claims against Missouri. The following month Smith set about polling
the presidential candidates on the question. Cass, Johnson, and Van Buren
did not reply; and Henry Clay and John Calhoun would make no definite
commitments, promising the Mormons only that they would be treated
equitably with other religious bodies.
Smith spurned these reassurances. "In your answer to my question,"
he wrote Clay, "that peculiar trait of the modern politician, declaring 'if
you ever enter into that high office, you must go into it unfettered, with
no guarantees but such as are to be drawn from your whole life, character
and conduct' so much resembles a lottery vendor's sign . . . that I cannot
help exclaiming, 'O, frail man, what have you done that will exalt you?
Can anything be drawn from your life, character or conduct that is worthy
of being held up to the gaze of this nation as a model of virtue, character
and wisdom?' "
Smith's audacious solution for the Mormons' political dilemma was the
announcement, in February, 1844, that he was a candidate for the presi-
dency of the United States. Sidney Rigdon became the Mormon candidate
for vice president, and shortly Smith's plaform, an amazing and unortho-
dox political document, was published. It advocated freeing the slaves and
all convicts; thenceforth only murder would be punished by confinement
or death, and other offenders would be put to work on public roads. Con-
gress would be reduced to half its size, and its members' wages cut to $2 a
day and board. A strong national government was urged, with Presiden-
tial authority to send the army anywhere to quell mobs. All lawyers were
to be converted into missionaries, "to preach the Gospel to the destitute,
without purse or scrip." The document was concluded: "With the highest
esteem, I am a friend of virtue and of the people."
Men experienced in missionary work were sent out to other states, but
now they exhorted listeners to vote for Joseph Smith for President. Gov-
ernor Ford is authority for the statement that between two thousand and
three thousand missionaries were dispatched. Some historians claim that
Smith was too intelligent to have hopes of victory in his campaign; that
it was but a scheme to publicize Mormonism. But the question remains
unsolved. Before the campaign was very far under way the trouble that
had been rumbling about Nauvoo swelled to a roar that drowned out
political slogans as a tornado swallows the cheep of a sparrow.
* * *
Bennett's apostasy had been that of an opportunist who could make more
money by vilifying the Saints than by currying their favor. But now oc-
curred a schism that appreciably wrenched the structure of the church.
William and Wilson Law, Dr. R. D. Foster, Sylvester Emmons, and a
few of their friends procured a printing press and on June 7, 1844, printed
the first and only issue of the Expositor. That night lamps burned late
and many a home buzzed with excitement as Mormons pored over the
daring attack it contained. "We are aware," ran the preamble, "that we
are hazarding every earthly blessing, particularly property, and probably
life itself, in striking this blow at tyranny and oppression." The paper
then went on to attack polygamy and the political aspirations of Smith.
It called for the withdrawal of the church from politics, and the repeal of
the powerful city charter. Intimations of financial irregularity were made
and the question was asked why the Church, as such, owned no property
in Nauvoo save the Temple. "The wealth that is brought into the place,"
i v*m ail IN
1 • "I aw
• ill ffl
Daily News Photo— By Clyde Br,
JOSEPH SMITH HOMESTEAD
the Expositor charged, "is swallowed up by the one great throat, from
whence there is no return."
These men had all been influential in the church, and their attack was
all the more dangerous to the Prophet because it was directed against him
personally, rather than against Mormonism. It is surprising that these
men could have retained their faith in the church while denouncing its
founder as a blackguard, but such was the case.
I Smith moved swiftly to suppress the revolt. The next day, Saturday,
the City Council was convened to try the Expositor and its backers. The
following Monday, June 10, it passed a resolution denouncing the paper
as a nuisance. Smith, as mayor, promptly instructed the city marshal as
"You are hereby commanded to destroy the printing press
from whence issues the Nauvoo Expositor, and pi the type of
said printing establishment in the street, and burn all the Ex-
positors and libellous hand bills found in said establishment; and
if resistance be offered to the execution of this order, by the
owners or others, destroy the house; and if any one threatens
you or the Mayor or the officers of the city, arrest those who
threaten you ; and fail not to execute this order without delay, and
make due return thereon."
At the same time the Nauvoo Legion was called out. Shortly after eight
that evening the marshal curtly reported that "the within-named press
and type is destroyed and pied according to order."
Only seven years before, public feeling had been fanned to a fury when
a pro-slavery mob at Alton had smashed the presses of Elijah Lovejoy,
Abolitionist editor. Now the streets of another Illinois town were once
more littered with pied type and charred copies of a newspaper. The
Expositor's backers fled to Carthage, and by the next day news of the
paper's suppression was trickling like a freshet throughout the county.
Anti-Mormon sentiment, arising from a half-dozen causes, now focused
on an outlet.
The Laws procured at Carthage a warrant for the arrest of the Prophet
and other Mormons responsible for the press's destruction. Smith promptly
nullified it by a writ of habeus corpus in the Nauvoo court. But by now
such a legal maneuver was like attempting to dam a roaring flood with a
handful of sand. Anti-Mormon mobs began to assemble throughout the
county ; and a few level-headed citizens requested Governor For j, to call
out the militia. Ford hurried to Carthage, urged that no illegal steps be
taken, and then sent word to Smith to surrender, promising him security
from mob action. But Smith, accompanied by his brother Hyrum and
several other Mormon leaders, fled across the Mississippi on the night of
June 22, and laid plans to leave Nauvoo permanently.
Many of the Mormons at Nauvoo were dismayed at their Prophet's
action, and feared measures of retaliation at the hands of the Gentiles
once the news of Smith's departure seeped out to the county. Faced with
charges of cowardice, Smith and the others returned. On June 24 they
gave themselves up and were imprisoned at Carthage, charged with in-
citing a riot. There, because he had previously declared Nauvoo under
martial law and had called out the Nauvoo Legion, Smith was charged
in addition with treason. He and Hyrum were held without bail, but the
others were released upon posting $500 each.
The tension in Hancock County wavered near the breaking point.
Gentiles at Carthage feared that the Nauvoo Legion would march on their
town and release the Prophet by force. At Nauvoo rumors were spreading
that a Gentile mob would descend on the town, now that it was deprived
of its leader, and lay it waste. Both sides began arming, while Governor
Ford struggled frantically to quiet the unrest and pursue a legal course of
action. The Gentile companies of the militia wanted to march on Nauvoo,
ostensibly to search for a counterfeiting plant. When Ford learned of an
alleged plan to sack Nauvoo, he ordered the disbanding of all militia com-
panies save three, one of which accompanied him to Nauvoo. The other
two were left to guard the jail at Carthage. On the morning of June 27,
Ford went to Nauvoo and assured the Mormons that their leader would
receive a fair trial, and warned them that any attempts on their part to
use force would result in the destruction of Nauvoo by the Gentiles.
Meanwhile the militia from Warsaw, bitterest of the anti-Mormon settle-
ments, was marching to Nauvoo when it received the Governor's order to
disband. Only a portion complied, and the remainder altered their course
and proceeded to Carthage.
% The Prophet and his brother were being held in the reception room of
the jail, which bore no lock. John Taylor, who succeeded Brigham Young
in the Presidency at Salt Lake City, and Willard Richards, were in the
room visiting them. Shortly after five a mob, with blackened faces, attacked
the jail. A volley was fired up the stairway, another from outside the
building, and Hyrum Smith, shot through the skull, fell dead. The Pro-
phet, having a six-shooter that had been smuggled in, fired three times at
the mob, while Taylor desperately attempted to strike down, with a walk-
ing stick, the muskets that were thrust in at the door. The Prophet's gun
tay Nauvoo Milk Products Co.
STORAGE CELLAR OF THE CHEESE FACTORY
then missed fire, and he ran to the window and was poised, ready to leap
out, when three musket balls struck him.t Crying "0 Lord, my God," he
fell from the building. The rioters, after ascertaining that he was dead,
withdrew. Richards was untouched, but Taylor had been shot several
times; one ball had smashed his watch, stopping it with its hands standing
at 5 o'clock, 16 minutes, and 26 seconds.
The following day the bodies of Joseph and Hyrum Smith were taken
to Nauvoo, where they were met by a mournful procession. When the
time came for the burial, Joseph's wife, fearing vandals, had the coffins
filled with rocks, and the bodies were secretly buried beneath the Nauvoo
House. Later they were moved again, and for years, until 1928, their
resting place was known only to a few of Smith's descendants.
Governor Ford made an attempt to bring the murderers of the Smiths
to justice. When the grand jury convened in the fall, indictments were
procured against nine men, but their trial dragged on well into the spring
of 1845. Mormon writers claim that the trial was a farce, that a mob
intimidated the Saints who attempted to testify. When, on May 30th, the
case was given to the jury, it returned a verdict of "not guilty" after de-
liberating a scant two and a half hours.
$5 Soon $5 (ftCLM (ftOW*
It will be recalled that most of the Mormon leaders, including a majority
of the Twelve Apostles, were campaigning in the East during the last days
of Smith. As soon as news of Smith's murder reached them they hurried
to Nauvoo : Rigdon from Pittsburgh, Brigham Young, Heber Kimball and
others from New England. Rigdon beat Young's party to Nauvoo by
three days, called a meeting of the Saints and announced that the Lord
had told him in a vision that a guardian must be appointed for the church.
But before any steps were taken, Brigham and his friends arrived. The
following day, at a meeting of Mormon leaders, Rigdon repeated his story
of the vision, announced himself as the Prophet's spokesman, and sug-
gested himself as guardian.
Now Brigham Young's genius in leadership revealed itself. At a meeting
of the whole body of Saints on the next day, he undermined Rigdon's
claims in an impassioned address, and strengthened his own position by
making no direct plea for power for himself. Instead, he requested that
the Saints "support the Twelve" (of which he was President) and this
was done by a unanimous vote. Rigdon took his defeat badly. For a
while he remained in Nauvoo. His opposition to Young became pro-
nounced, and at last he was "cut off from the church, and delivered over
to the buffeting of Satan." He returned to Pittsburgh, where he gathered
a few followers about him and proclaimed himself "First President, Pro-
phet, Seer, Revelator, and Translator." Undaunted by his church's meager
membership, he announced grand plans. "I will cross the Atlantic," he
wrote, "encounter the Queen's (Queen Victoria's) forces, and overcome
them— plant the American standard on English ground, and then march
to the palace of Her Majesty, and demand a portion of her riches and
dominions, which if she refuse, I will take the little madam by the nose,
and lead her out, and she shall have no power to help herself." His
church soon died out.
Rigdon's withdrawal did not wholly settle the question of leadership.
A sizeable group believed that the Prophet's mantle should descend to
Joseph Smith's eldest son, then twelve years old. Upon this premise,
among others, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
was later organized, and the presidency in that Church has since remained
in the family.
The violence that culminated in the Prophet's murder abated only tem-
porarily. In January, 1845, the troublesome Nauvoo Charter was repealed
by the State Legislature. The Mormon paper proclaimed pessimistically:
"Well, our charter is repealed ; the murderers of the Smiths are
running at large, and if the Mormons should wish to imitate their
forefathers and fulfill the Scripture by making it 'hard to kick
against the pricks' by wearing cast steel spikes about four or five
inches long in their boots and shoes to kick with, what's the
Sporadic brushes between Mormons and Gentiles continued, increasing
in number as fall came on, and one night early in September an anti-
Mormon meeting at Green Plain was fired on. Mormons claim that the
attack was a frame-up by the Gentiles to excuse their subsequent purge
of the out-country, wherein Mormon farmers were driven into Nauvoo by
raiding parties that burned their homes and destroyed or confiscated their
crops. The Mormons, under a sympathetic sheriff named Backenstos, re-
taliated by raising a large armed force and raiding the Gentile towns and
farms. Less than a month after the incident at Green Plain, Governor
Ford was again forced to step in. A committee of four, which included
Stephen A. Douglas, headed an armed force that moved in to preserve
order and negotiate for a settlement of the dispute.
The only settlement acceptable to the anti-Mormons was the removal of
the Saints from Illinois. Informed of this ultimatum, the Saints considered
the choice that faced them: a continuation of the riots and plundering, or
abandonment of a thriving city, the last earthly home of their Prophet.
aily News Photo — By Clyde Br*
BRIGHAM YOUNG HOUSE
On September 24 Brigham Young announced their decision: "as soon as
grass grows and water runs" the Mormons would migrate to some distant
place where there would not "need to be a difficulty with the people and
Douglas and the committee, informed of the Mormons' decision, dis-
patched two remarkably even-tempered documents, one to the Saints, one
to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were warned that "resort to, or persist-
ence in, such a course (of terrorism) under existing circumstances will
make you forfeit all the respect and sympathy of the community." After
advising the Mormons that they should take steps making it obvious that
they would leave in the spring, the committee promised them an un-
Throughout the riots and negotiations, many an anti-Mormon was
puzzled to note that work was proceeding unchecked on the Temple, then
near completion. Even the agreement to leave Nauvoo brought about no
halt in the work, and on October 5, 1845, the Saints assembled in the
Temple for the first meeting there. Then the seeming folly was ex-
plained. The revelation commanding that the Temple be built had warned
the Saints that "a baptismal font there is not upon the earth, that
they, my saints, may be baptized for those who are dead; for this ordi-
nance belongeth to my house, and cannot be acceptable to me, only in the
days of your poverty wherein ye are not able to build a house unto me."
Immediately after the opening of the Temple, baptism of the dead by proxy
began, and continued day after day for several months.
Meanwhile Nauvoo had been transformed into a gigantic wagon shop,
and the Flat echoed almost continually with the sound of hammer and
saw as the Saints prepared for their exodus. Property was disposed of
at a fraction of its value; horses and oxen were at a premium.
The first body of Saints, led by Brigham Young, crossed the Mississippi
in February, in advance of the time they had agreed upon. By now they
were thoroughly perturbed, and they hoped, by demonstrating their good
faith, to forestall violence. By the time "grass grew and water ran" the
exodus was averaging a thousand persons a week. Still the Gentiles were
dissatisfied. When time had tempered the passions engendered by the
Mormon Wars, it was admitted that the events of the summer of 1846
were the most shameful of the whole deplorable affair.
Despite the daily departures, rumors circulated that a considerable body
of the Saints planned to remain. Terrorism was renewed; on one occasion
a Mormon farm-hand was brutally whipped and sent into Nauvoo to show
his welts. Then, on September 11, the anti-Mormons completely abrogated
the agreement that the Douglas committee had negotiated, and marched a
force of 700 men and several pieces of field artillery on Nauvoo. The
besieged city hastily assembled a make-shift defense comprising a few
cannons contrived out of steamboat shafts. For two days there was open
warfare and the echoes of cannonading rolled out over the Mississippi
and through the wooded bluffs on the Iowa side. But the city did not fall.
When news of the conflict got down to Quincy, neutral citizens organ-
ized a committee of 100 and hurried to Nauvoo. There they managed to
halt the siege. Thus the men of Quincy, who had broken the frontier pre-
cedent years before by welcoming the Saints, were able to extend to
them a small gesture of good-will at the end.
But the anti-Mormons halted the siege only after the harshest of terms
were imposed upon the Mormons. All were to leave the city immediately.
An eyewitness described the confusion:
"In every part of the city scenes of destitution, misery and
woe met the eye. Families were hurrying away from their homes,
without a shelter, — without means of conveyance, — without tents,
money, or a day's provision, with as much of their household
stuff as they could carry in their hands. Sick men and women
were carried upon their beds — weary mothers, with helpless babes
dying in their arms, hurried away — all fleeing, they scarcely
knew or cared whither, so it was from their enemies, whom they
feared more than the waves of the Mississippi, or the heat, and
hunger and lingering life and dreaded death of the prairies on
which they were about to be cast. The ferry boats were crowded,
and the river bank was lined with anxious fugitives, sadly await-
ing their turn to pass over and take up their solitary march to
* * *
Meanwhile Brigham Young and his party had established a camp near
Council Bluffs and there awaited the remainder of the Saints. It was not
until early in 1847 that they were ready to begin their westward journey
that was to find peace and permanence for them in Utah. On January 14
he assembled his following and read to them a brief proclamation. "The
word and will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journey -
ings to the West : Let all the people of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-
day Saints and those who journey with them, be organized into com-
panies, with a covenant and promise to keep all the commandments and
statutes of the Lord our God." On and on he read, his breath freezing in a
mist as the Saints were urged to be solicitous of the poor, the widows,
and the fatherless. Then the Lord's instructions were concluded, "Be dili-
gent in keeping all my commandments, lest judgement come upon you,
and your faith fail you, and your enemies triumph over you — So no more
"Amen and Amen."
Utopia &ome5 to A/auvoo
A few neutral non-Mormons had come to Nauvoo during the exodus,
buying property and attempting to establish themselves, but so great was
the anti-Mormon fury that these too had been driven from Nauvoo in the
final riots. Weeds took root in the streets. Rats scurried fearlessly through
the open doors of the fine houses wherein the Twelve Apostles had lived,
and the Temple, most pretentious building in the Middle West, stood mute
and staring above the abandoned city. On November 11, 1848, the Temple
was fired by an incendiary, and only the walls were left standing. This
blow at prostrate Nauvoo was the last recorded act of anti-Mormonism.
During the same year that the Temple was fired, a party of 69 French-
men who called themselves the Pioneers of Humanity left Le Havre,
France, bound for Texas to establish a communistic society. Known popu-
larly as the Icarians, the group had been organized by Etienne Cabet,
prominent French jurist and attorney-general of Corsica during the Second
Republic. Cabet, a cooper's son, had early identified himself with the
proletariat. Convinced that an economic system based on the tenet "from
each according to his ability and to each according to his need" would
operate to the advantage of all, he had expressed his beliefs in True Chris-
tianity and Voyage to Icaria, volumes that won a considerable little band
to his form of communism. Cabet felt that communism should be patterned
on the moral teachings of Christ, rather than on a rigid mechanistic frame-
Cabet first applied for permission to conduct his social experiment in
France, and upon refusal, obtained a land grant in Texas and recruited
the first emigrant band of Pioneers of Humanity. Sailing to America,
they made their way up the Red River, and established a settlement on
their land grant. They were stricken by malaria, and, betrayed by Cabet's
lieutenant, they soon became disheartened and returned to New Orleans.
Other groups that had meanwhile journeyed from France joined the
pioneers at New Orleans. Aware that the future success of his movement
depended on the fate of the American experiment, Cabet left
France and joined the 200 Icarians who had gathered at New Orleans.
In the spring of 1849 three Icarians traveled up the Mississippi in search
of a suitable location. Arriving at Nauvoo they found a site that conformed
precisely to their needs. Delighted by their find they returned to New
Orleans, and the main body of Icarians was soon installed at the city
recently abandoned by the Mormons.
The Icarians bought 12 acres of land, and built several tenements and
a large assembly hall which contained a communal kitchen, refectory,
women's workshop, and sleeping quarters. The Icarian government con-
sisted of a president, elected yearly, together with a cabinet composed of
directors of finance, public instruction, clothing and nourishment, and in-
dustry and agriculture.
The workshops and labor gangs were supervised by foremen elected
monthly by the workers. Flour, shoes, clothing, anc
uy luiemcii cicticu
id whiskey were the
t Keokuk, Iowa, and
principal products; surplus commodities were sold at
St. Louis, Mo. Possession of money was restricted to the director of
finance; individual needs of shoes and clothing were supplied from a
common fund. Two doctors attended the sick of the colony, and main-
tained a small hospital staffed by competent nurses.
At the age of seven, Icarian children entered the colony's school and
continued until they were able to conform to the high standards of an
examining commission. Allowed to visit their parents on Sundays only,
the children were trained to perform their own household duties and to
manage the dormitories where they lived. Housing space for adults was
alloted in the following manner: married couples were given one room,
and bachelors, of whom there were once 108, were assigned two to a
room. Each chamber contained a bed, table, mirror, and two chairs.
The Icarians had no official religion; some were atheists, others ag-
nostics, and still others spiritualists. On Sundays, Cabet gave lectures on
OLD ICARIAN SCHOOL
Chicago Daily Nam Photo— By ClyA
Chrises moral teachings which were regularly attended by most of the
colony. A choir, band, and theatrical club supplied communal entertain-
Fascinated by the massive ruins of the Temple, Cabet determined to
reconstruct the edifice. Despite the heavy debt that already handicapped
the community, $500 was expended for possession of the huge stone pile.
Eleven workers were assigned to rebuild the structure and an Icarian
architect, Alfred H. Piquenard, who later designed the State capitol at
Springfield, Illinois, was sent north to buy lumber.
On the afternoon of May 27, 1850, at almost the exact hour of the day
that Joseph Smith had been slain, a terrific storm tore into Nauvoo, and,
seeming to single out the Temple, felled the walls with a roar that was
heard three miles away. The Icarians abandoned their reconstruction and
the affair occasioned the first grumbling against Cabet's leadership.
Despite the skilled workmen in the colony and the principles that they
followed, shirking became contagious and production slackened. The
debt against the Icarians grew larger each year. Individualism crept into
the colony. As described by Emilie Vallet, member of the Icarians, "The
beast began to show itself. Having been raised under the influence of
individualism, we could not be expected to fulfill the requirements of
such a mode of life."
Taking advantage of the homestead laws, a second Icarian colony estab-
lished itself in Iowa during 1853. Unable to sustain themselves by their
produce, the new colony was supported by wagon loads of clothing and
food-stuffs regularly sent from Nauvoo.
In an attempt to stimulate sagging production quotas, several Icarians
proposed that competitive methods be adopted by the community. Cabet,
true collectivist, scorned the proposal. Indeed, those found to harbour the
virus of individualism were regularly expelled from the community, so
that, despite the constant arrival of Icarians from France, the population
of the Nauvoo colony remained at 500.
Steadily the debt and dissension of the Icarians increased. In winter
the coal that was supposed to be equally divided among all was carried
away by a few as soon as it arrived, and the aged and ill were left without
fuel; at breakfast, the tiny piece of butter intended to be divided equally
among ten persons was snatched and consumed by a greedy few. In these
and a hundred similar trifling incidents was reflected the spirit that even-
tually despoiled Cabet's colony.
At first called Father and likened to Christ, Cabet steadily lost his
followers' esteem. Sensing that events were heading the colony toward
certain failure, he came forward in the annual election of 1856 with the
proposals that the president be elected thereafter for four years, and that
overseers be appointed to check the production of each Icarian.
For the first time, Cabet found his claim to the presidency challenged
by another candidate. In the election Cabet was soundly defeated. Refus-
ing to accept the majority's choice, he organized a group that went on
strike. Adopting a policy of no work, no food, the majority locked the
dining hall. Cabet's faction chopped down the doors. A brawl ensued
and the minority group was repulsed. Cabet, resorting to legal means
to regain possession of the colony, brought his case into court, and, al-
though a skillful lawyer, lost the verdict.
Aware that the breech could not be healed, Cabet and his followers left
Nauvoo in the autumn of 1856, and journeyed to St. Louis. Brooding
over the failure of his colony, he who had been called Christ and Father,
shortly became ill and died unattended.
The majority group at Nauvoo, meanwhile, voted to sell their property,
pay their debts, and combine forces with the colony that had been estab-
lished at Corning, Iowa. The sale of Icarian property at Nauvoo brought
$25,000, a sum scarcely covering the colony's indebtedness. In the autumn
of 1858 the last Icarians at Nauvoo left to join their comrades in Iowa.
The Corning colony, faring better than had that at Nauvoo, lasted until
With the departure of the Icarians, the unconventional days of Nauvoo
were done. Gradual resettlement began in the late fifties and the six-
ties, but not in sufficient extent to occupy a community the size of the
one left by the Mormons. Many of those who resettled Nauvoo in this
period were German emigrants who had fled their country after the revo-
lution of 1848, and a strong German strain still runs through Nauvoo's
population. Most of the frame buildings left by the Mormons — and there
were far more frames than bricks — fell into ruin and were torn down.
Gradually Nauvoo scaled itself down to its present size.
The facade of the ruined Temple stood for a time like a sombre painting
by Hubert Robert, but at last it was condemned and torn down. The
limestone blocks eventually found their way into the construction of many
a house or commercial building. Thus the Temple that Joseph Smith
planned as the focus and glory of Nauvoo was diffused throughout the
city, assuming a different function, but never to be wholly lost as long as
Nauvoo stands on the hill beside the river.
by John Stenvall
AT THE CREST OF THE HILL
On the 4/ill and In tke 7/at
(Note — There are no street signs in Nauvoo. Years ago the names of
some of the streets were changed from those given them by the Mormons,
and some residents still use the old. Mormon names. Seventh Street* for
example, is also known as Main Street. The tourist desiring to use the map
in this book can orient himself from St. Edmund Hall, which dominates
the town. The State Highway, passing in front of the Hall, traverses Mul-
holland Street. Immediately beyond the Hall it makes a sharp turn and
there becomes Tenth Street. In the following points of interest, the nota-
tion "(private)" means that the house is serving as a private dwelling.
Occupants, however, are usually willing to grant permission to inspect.)
1. The JOSEPH SMITH HOMESTEAD (open to tourists) consists of
three sections, the original log cabin into which Joseph Smith moved
upon coming to Nauvoo, the left wing, which is a frame addition, and an
addition at the rear. Some of these improvements were made before
the Prophet moved to the Mansion House in 1843. The original log struc-
ture is the oldest house now standing in Nauvoo. Owned by the Reorgan-
ized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Homestead is main-
tained as a house museum and a shrine to Joseph Smith. It is furnished
throughout with antiques, a number of which are original pieces of the
Prophet's family. A member of the Reorganized Church conducts a lecture
tour that includes this building, the graves immediately adjoining it, and
the Mansion House across the street. There is no fixed fee, but contribu-
tions toward the upkeep of the buildings are accepted.
2. The GRAVES OF JOSEPH, EMMA, and HYRUM SMITH lie in a
grassy plot, surrounded by an iron fence, on the river side of the Home-
stead. The bodies of the Prophet and his brother were moved several
times after the murder at Carthage, and were finally secretly buried in a
springhouse a short distance from where they now rest. This fell into
ruin, and when the level of the river was raised by the completion of
Keokuk Dam fear was expressed that the bodies might never be recovered.
It was only after considerable search that a party sponsored by the Re-
organized Church discovered the bodies in 1928. A hole in the skull of one
of the bodies identified it as that of Hyrum Smith, shot through the head
at Carthage jail. The bodies of the brothers, with that of Joseph Smith's
wife, Emma, were reinterred January 20, 1928. Within the plot are also
two base-stones from the pilasters of the Nauvoo Temple.
3. The MANSION HOUSE (open to tourists) served as Joseph Smith's
home from August, 1843, until his death at Carthage. Originally it ex-
tended much deeper, and contained 22 rooms, 15 of which were bedrooms.
Much has been made of this # by sensational writers, who deduce from the
large number of bedrooms proof that Smith practiced polygamy. At the
time of Smith's occupancy, however, there was but one small hotel in
Nauvoo, and the Prophet, possessed of great hospitality, offered lodgings
in his home to many of Nauvoo's visitors. The clap-boarding of the
Mansion House is new, but the window and door sills are the originals,
as are many of the window panes. The portion of the interior that re-
mained after the remodeling is substantially the same as it was when
Smith lived here. Occupied by James Page, grandson of John E. Page,
one of the Twelve Apostles, the Mansion House is owned by the Reorgan-
ized Church and maintained as a house museum. Among its exhibits are
foreign editions of the Book of Mormon, early editions of Doctrine and
Covenants, two bound volumes of Times and Seasons, and Joseph Smith's
desk, which contains several secret compartments. The Mansion House
is headquarters for the guide service maintained by the Reorganized
Church (small fee, depending upon size of party, for tour of the Mormon
dwellings). Lodging can also be procured here or at the Nauvoo House,
and the Church rents several tourist cabins on the river side of the house.
4. The NAUVOO HOUSE (open to tourists) was begun in 1841 as a
boarding house, following a revelation received by the Prophet. The
original plans called for a building 120 feet by 40 feet on Seventh Street,
with an ell of the same dimensions extending at right angles along the
river. The death of Joseph Smith halted construction before completion.
Later Smith's widow remarried, and her husband, L. C. Bidamon, altered
the plans and completed the building as it stands today. The foundation
as originally planned still stands on the Seventh Street side. The small
stone building, at the north end of the foundation, was built as an office
by Bidamon. The Nauvoo House is used to provide lodging for visitors
whenever the Mansion House is filled.
5. The NATIONAL WOMAN'S RELIEF SOCIETY MARKER com-
memorates the founding of the Mormon's relief society by Joseph Smith,
March 17, 1842. Still functioning, the society is one of the oldest such
organizations in existence. The bronze tablet, bearing a bas-relief of the
building in which the society was begun, was erected by the Utah Church.
6. The SITE OF JOSEPH SMITH'S STORE, adjoining the marker, is
clearly indicated by the cellar and foundation stones. Smith found time
to conduct a general store while discharging his duties as head of his
church and mayor of his town. His commercial venture was not a success,
largely because of the liberal credit he granted to the poor.
7. The WILLIAM MARKS HOUSE (private) is a two-story red brick,
well preserved, with an archaic little lantern over the doorway. Marks
was president of the Nauvoo Stake of Zion.
8. The SITE OF THE HYRUM SMITH HOUSE now has only a few
stones to mark its foundation. Hyrum Smith, with his brother and Sidney
Rigdon, composed the First Presidency of the Church. Functioning later
as Patriarch, he wielded an influence second only to that of the Prophet.
9. The SITE OF THE FIRST TIMES AND SEASONS' BUILDING is
marked by the cellar excavation and the foundation stones. Here, until
1845, was published the Mormon newspaper, a bi-weekly that printed the
Prophet's revelations, the proclamations of the Mormon leaders, and, in
FOUNDATION OF THE PROPHET'S STORE
Chicago Daily Neu-s Photo— By Clyde
keeping with the customs of the times, long accounts of hurricanes, fires
and other disasters from all over the globe.
10. The ORSON PRATT HOUSE (unoccupied) is a two-story brick with
a keystone arch over the door. Orson Pratt, one of the original Twelve
Apostles, was well versed in mathematics, astronomy, and Hebrew, and
became Church Historian at Utah in 1874. With Erastus Snow he was
the first of the Mormon party to enter Salt Lake Valley, July 24, 1847.
11. The SIDNEY RIGDON HOUSE (private), a story-and-a-half frame,
is owned by the Reorganized Church. The building served as the first
post-office in Nauvoo. Rigdon, with Alexander Campbell, had founded a
congregation in Pennsylvania that later grew into the Disciples of Christ,
or Campbellites. He subsequently became one of the first converts to
Mormonism, and until his expulsion from the Church at Nauvoo, was one
of the most influential leaders. His ambition frequently dismayed Joseph
Smith; shortly after joining the church, he, too, began to receive revela-
tions, and desisted only after the Prophet had notified him that the Lord
expressly disapproved of this activity.
12. The FIRST HOTEL IN NAUVOO, a part of which comprises a two-
story frame across from the Rigdon House, is now a private dwelling.
Before the construction of the Mansion House, its modest quarters were
frequently strained to their limits by the constant influx of immigrants,
politicians, journalists, and the merely curious.
13. The SITE OF THE MATCH AND POWDER FACTORY is now
covered by a cornfield, and nothing remains to mark the place where the
building once stood.
14. The SITE OF THE SEVENTIES HALL is indistinguishable, save
for a few crumbled stones, from the farmer's field that it occupies. The
Seventies were a quorum of seventy elders, each of whom devoted his
time to missionary work.
15. The BRIGHAM YOUNG HOUSE (private), a two-story red brick in
good repair, is flanked by two great maple trees. Young, a Vermonter,
became one of the Twelve Apostles in 1835 and was one of Joseph Smith's
closest associates. After the Mormon trek to Utah he became territorial
governor, and, although he lost that position when the Federal government
began to war on polygamy, he exercised great authority over the Utah
Church until his death in 1877. A glazer and painter in his youth, he
developed, in Utah, organizational and administrative ability that is
credited as the chief force in establishing a permanent and prosperous
community at that place.
T6. The SECOND TIMES AND SEASONS' BUILDING, a two-story red
brick, is now unoccupied.
17. The ALMON BABBITT HOUSE, boarded up and half-covered with
vines, is a two-story brick that has weathered to a slate-grey. Once it was
one of the most pretentious of the Mormon houses, rivaling that of Brig-
ham Young. Babbitt served as a Trustee for the Church after the expulsion
of the Mormons from Nauvoo, and stayed here for a while, liquidating
the Mormons' holdings. Later he was influential in gaining the admission
of Utah into the Union.
18. The JOHN TAYLOR HOUSE, a short distance north, is now but a
crumbled shell, its roof long caved in, its walls covered with vines. Taylor,
one of the two Mormons with the Prophet and his brother at Carthage
jail, was editor of the Times and Seasons at Nauvoo. He succeeded Brig-
ham Young as president of the LItah Church.
19. The JONATHAN BROWNING HOUSE (unoccupied), a two-story
red brick, was the home of the father of John M. Browning, inventor of the
Browning rapid fire gun.
20. The REORGANIZED CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-
DAY SAINTS is a neat red brick that was built as a school-house. The
Reorganized branch, which numbers more than 100,000 members and
maintains headquarters at Independence, Mo., is presided over by Fred-
erick M. Smith, grandson of the Prophet.
21. The MASONIC HALL (private), a bright red brick with white win-
dow trim, was formerly a three-story structure, but the top story was
removed in remodeling. The Nauvoo Lodge, of which Joseph Smith was
a member, was the largest in the State at the time of Mormon occupancy
22. The ORSON HYDE HOUSE (private), a story-and-a-half frame that
faces one of Nauvoo's many vineyards, was the home of another of the
Twelve Apostles. Hyde, who helped with the initial missionary work in
England, was later active in establishing colonies in Utah and California.
23. The LUCY MACK SMITH HOUSE (private), a small brick structure
with a frame addition, was the home of the Prophet's mother.
24. The ERASTUS SNOW HOUSE (private), is a two-story, red brick
that is well preserved. The doorways of its double entrance are bordered
by interesting, old-fashioned leaded windows. It is believed that Lorenzo
Snow occupied one half of the house. Lorenzo Snow, one of the Twelve
at Nauvoo, subsequently founded Brigham City, Utah, and became, in
1898, the fifth President of the Utah Church.
The JOHN SMITH HOUSE (private), a two-story, stucco dwelling
profusely covered with vines, has been extensively remo
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Here lived Joseph Smith's uncle, who later was to become Presiding Patri-
arch of the Church at Utah.
26. The LORIN FARR HOUSE (private), a two-story brick that has been
painted grey, now serves as a tourist home. Farr was influential in the
establishment of Ogden, Utah, and became its first mayor. At Nauvoo
he served as a teacher, and taught the children of Joseph Smith, Brigham
Young, John Taylor, and many other Mormon leaders.
27. The HEBER C. KIMBALL HOUSE (private) is a two-story brick
topped by a look-out platform of the type common in river towns. Inset
in the front of the house is a stone bearing the inscription "H. C. K. 1845."
Heber Kimball was one of the Twelve Apostles at Nauvoo and subse-
quently became Counsellor to Brigham Young, and Lieutenant-Governor
of Deseret, as Utah was known before its organization as a territory.
23. The WILFORD WOODRUFF HOUSE (private), picturesquely cov-
ered with vines, is a well-kept two-story brick structure. At either end
are large double chimneys. One of the early Twelve Apostles, Woodruff
succeeded John Taylor as President of the Utah Church. On September
25, 1890, he issued the famous proclamation calling upon the Saints to
submit to the laws of the United States and abandon the practice of poly-
gamy. His request was approved by the Church in general conference
eleven days later, officially ending the practice.
29. ST. EDMUND HALL (visitors welcome), which overlooks the Flat
from the very crest of the Hill, is a Catholic boarding school for boys.
Students of the ages from 5 to 14 are admitted, and education is super-
vised by the Sisters of St. Benedict. Established in 1926, the Hall enrolls
an average of 40 students yearly.
30. ST. MARY'S ACADEMY (visitors welcome), also at the crest of the
Hill, is a Roman Catholic boarding school for girls. At the rear of the
main building is a small stone building that once served as the Mormon
arsenal. The parade and drill grounds, adjoining, are now covered with
31. The SITE OF NAUVOO TEMPLE has nothing left to mark the im-
posing structure that once reared here and dominated the whole of the
Mormon city. At the end of the present business district, the Temple
block became the location of numerous buildings, including six erected
by the Icarians, after the Mormons left here. The style of the Temple was
a mixture of Romanesque, Egyptian, and Greek; 83 by 128 feet, it was
adorned with 30 hewn pilasters that cost $3,000 each. The base-stone of
each pilaster was decorated with a representation of a quarter-moon, the
cap-stone with a sun surrounded by rays, and above that, a representation
of a star. Topping the entire structure was a gilded statue of Moroni, the
angel that, according to the Prophet, appeared to him in a vision and
told him about the plates bearing the Book of Mormon. In the basement
of the Temple was a great baptismal fount, supported by 12 oxen. Bap-
tism, in the Mormon dogma, was identified with resurrection; hence the
peculiar location of the fount, in the basement "below the living."
32. The PAROCHIAL SCHOOL, on the southwest corner of the Temple
lot, was built of Temple stone by the Icarians, who used it as the common
school. It is now owned by the Catholic Church.
33. The TWO ICARIAN APARTMENT HOUSES (private), on the south-
east corner of the Temple lot, are two-story, frame structures, grey and
weather-beaten. Originally there were four of them along Mulholland
Street. Occupying a ground floor room of the corner house is Miss Rose
Nicaise, last of the first-generation descendants of the Icarians. She
dwells in the same room to which her parents were assigned by Cabet.
On the doors are painted the numerals that originally marked the room.
Ingenious locks, manufactured by Miss Nicaise's father at Cabet's direc-
tions, are on each of the doors in the building. Miss Nicaise speaks
French. Born after the Icarian colony had failed, she recalls nothing of
the experiment save that it removed her father from France and thereby
broke his heart. Several years ago, Miss Nicaise lost the copy of Voyage
en Icarie over which her father would sometimes meditate. He held no
malice for Cabet, Miss Nicaise relates, and his faith in Cabet's funda-
mental principles was lifelong.
34. The ICARIAN MEETING HALL formerly stood at the northeast
corner of the Temple block, and functioned as the town opera house. In
1938 it was destroyed by fire.
35. The ORIENTAL HOTEL (small fee for inspection of relics) is
Nauvoo's only hotel. Jamming its lobby, its corridors, its rooms, and
overflowing to a barn in the rear is an astounding collection of Mormon
and Icarian relics, and 19th century antiques. Currier and Ives prints and
Seth Thomas clocks hang on the walls. Among the deeds, manuscripts,
and books are copies of the Expositor, letters of Joseph Smith, and a
bound volume of Times and Seasons. The rooms are furnished with an-
tiques; canopy beds, rope-net beds with trundles, complete sets in cedar,
walnut, and cherry, many of which antedate the Icarian years. There is
one room furnished with Joseph Smith's furniture. In the yard stands
one of the base-stones of the Temple, the finest specimen in exist-
36. The JOSEPH AGNEW HOUSE (private), a one-story brick with a
frame addition, was the residence, according to local legend, of the young
boy who fired the Mormon Temple.
37. The WINE CELLAR (obtain permission at adjoining house) is typ-
ical of the many wine cellars in Nauvoo. Although the Icarians made
wine here, most of the cellars were built after they had left. Staunchly
constructed, they are invariably in excellent condition, with sound walls
and true arches. Forty of these cellars were built in Nauvoo.
38. The AMERICAN LEGION HALL, a small, rectangular building, was
built entirely of Temple stone.
NAUVOO'S CHIEF REPOSITORY OF ITS RELICS
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